Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Shadow Prince by Stacey O' Neale

Y'know...I try to go into these things with an open mind.  I really, really do! But every time I do, I just keep getting the same things over and over again. It's all just Twilight with a different gimmick. Pixies instead of vampires. Demon hunters instead of vampires. Aliens instead of vampires. Angels instead of vampires, and now it seems we have Twilight with Avatar: The Last Airbender instead of vampires...the prequel.

The story is of our hunky supernatural being, Rowan, who is prince of the fire elementals who keep control of nature around the world. His evil mother says she's finally willing to abdicate her throne to him but on one condition: he must assassinate the daughter of a fellow king, who happens to be a teenage girl living in the mortal world and going to high they do. Gaining the throne will mean he'll be able to free his friend from slavery, but killing the daughter of another royal elemental is a serious no-no. On top of all that, he can't help but think his intended victim is really cute.

So, yeah, that's the gist of it. It's just the same painfully cliche type of story that we've seen a thousand times in the last ten years. Despite this not actually being the real novel but a short prequel story, it still checks off all the boxes on the Pretentious Paranormal Romance Checklist. You've got the super overprotective emo hunk boyfriend, werewolves (and I don't care if you call them "Gabriel Hounds" and that look like cats for some reason, it counts!), the "normal" teenage girl who is not only a super-special-something-or-other but is actually an even more super-special-mega-something-or-other. You have the boyfriend being a serious creeper but it's okay because he's just "looking out" for the girl. The list goes on and on.

Now, it's not too hard for someone to write about being a younger version of themselves (something that happens a lot in these types of stories) as your main character. Women writing about being a teenage girl is relatively easy, but women writing about being a teenage boy is a lot more difficult, but it can be done right if you know what you're doing. Unfortunately for this story, I think Ms. O' Neale here doesn't have a lot of experience in writing teenage boys outside of Yaoi fanfiction. I swear, there were a great many times when Rowan and his best friend Marcus are talking and it really sounds like they're flirting! They say things, "sarcastically" of course, like "Oh, honey, you shouldn't have." "I'm ready for my hug now." "I'm right behind you, sweetness."  Yeah, there's way too much romance in your bromance!

Also, the writing in this book is just terrible! Our emo hunk main character's inner dialogue is very stilted and bland and with so many stupid comparisons that I thought my eyes would fall out from rolling them too much! There's way too many instances in which we're told things like, "The tension is very high right now" which breaks one of the first rules of writing: Show, Don't Tell. Also, the use of modern language in this supposed ancient and regal court is just awkward and fits into the story like a square peg in a round hole. If you're going for an ancient feel, do it. If you want to be modern, do it. Don't try to do both. It also really doesn't help that the "modern" language uses phrases like, and I'm not kidding this is a direct quote, "Bringing all the boys to the yard." I was drinking something when I read that. I choked.

Final Verdict
Yeah, the best thing I can say about this book is that it's short. While it didn't make me overwhelmed with anger like some other books like this do, I still can't say much good about it. It's predictable, poorly written, the whole plot is dumb, and it fails in its ultimate mission: making me want to read the actual series. If you're actually into stories that replace Edward Cullen with Prince Zuko with a pierced eyebrow instead of a scar, good for you, but I'm putting this one in the Waste Bin of Despair!

Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts.

Next Time: You know that feeling when you feel like a book just sucks you in? This girl sure does.

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